Jewish dietary laws
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- Alphabetized by author
- With the possible exception of sex, there is no more basic human activity than eating, rendering it an appropriate candidate for Jewish rituals designed to maintain our focus on Godliness. The table is seen as an altar, and the concern with Kashrut extends to removing knives, instruments of war, from the table during the Birkat HaMazon (blessing after the meal). Tsaar baalei khayim, the concern for the pain of all living things and the reverence for life, is another essential aspect of kashrut. Vegetarianism is clearly the Torah's ideal; the Garden of Eden is a vegetarian society.
- Bonnie Koppell, "Vegetarianism," in Rabbis and Vegetarianism: An Evolving Tradition, edited by Roberta Kalechofsky (Marblehead, MA: Micah Publications, 1995), p. 37
- As a rabbi I am often called upon to determine the kashrut of various food products and institutions. I am appalled by the number of chemicals that are added to our food, and long for the days when one did not need a degree in chemistry in order to understand what one was eating. From my perspective, I'm tempted to brand all food additives as treif, and hail as glatt kosher only those fruits and vegetables that are organically grown.
- Bonnie Koppell, "Vegetarianism," in Rabbis and Vegetarianism: An Evolving Tradition, edited by Roberta Kalechofsky (Marblehead, MA: Micah Publications, 1995), p. 38
- Moses … denied to the members of the sacred commonwealth unrestricted liberty to use and partake of the other kinds of food. All the animals of land, sea or air whose flesh is the finest and fattest, thus titillating and exciting the malignant foe pleasure, he sternly forbade them to eat, knowing that they set a trap for the most slavish of the senses, the taste, and produce gluttony, an evil very dangerous both to soul and body.
- Philo, On The Special Laws, Part IV, p. 69
- Moses … takes one form of desire, that one whose field of activity is the belly, and admonishes and disciplines it as the first step, holding that the other forms will cease to run riot as before and will be restrained by having learnt that their senior and as it were the leader of their company is obedient to the laws of temperance.
- Philo, On The Special Laws, Part IV, p. 77
- Eggs are generally considered kosher, but what about eggs from chickens who spend their entire lives imprisoned in a cage one cubic foot in size? Food pellets are brought to them on one conveyor belt; their droppings and eggs are taken away on another. The Bible forbids us to torment animals or cause them any unnecessary grief. Raising chickens who can go out sometimes and see the sky or eat a worm or blade of grass is one thing, but manufacturing them in the concentration camp conditions of contemporary "poultry ranches" is quite another.
- Zalman Schachter-Shalomi with Donald Gropman, The First Step: A Guide for the New Jewish Spirit (New York: Bantam Books, 1983), p. 74